AMONG the numerous threads feeding day by day into the uneven fabric of Sino-Japanese history one glowing strand is never lost. It is described somewhat tritely by rulers of both countries as The Red Menace. It is so clearly of importance in the present Sino-Japanese crisis that it needs to be closely examined. About the pivotal idea of fan-kung, or "counter-communism," may turn the fate of all China.
Although the Japanese desire to "coöperate" with Nanking has often found expression in demands for a Sino-Japanese understanding against communist intrusions, the project of an anti-Red alliance was not given recognition as an organic part of Japan's China policy until last autumn. It was done then with the formulation of the Three Points of Mr. Hirota, at that time Japanese Foreign Minister, today Premier of his country.
The Hirota program defined Japan's requirements in China in the following order: (1) the abandonment by China of "her policy of playing one foreign country against another," and positive demonstrations by Nanking, affecting all phases of Chinese life, of a sincere desire to coöperate with Japan; (2) "recognition by Nanking of the existence of Manchukuo," and the realization of a Japan-China-Manchukuo economic bloc; (3) "formation of a common front against the Chinese communists and the further extension of Red Influence in China."
In the tradition of Oriental diplomacy, the last item is the most heavily freighted with meaning. The other two are complementary. Neither of them can be realized with any degree of permanence or security without the third. The Red power in China, with all its internal potentialities, and with the prospect it offers of a close union between Soviet China and the U. S. S. R., now constitutes a major obstacle in the path of Japanese imperialism.
It seems probable that when Sino-Japanese negotiations reach a critical moment we shall hear less and less about formal recognition of Manchukuo, or even about the three-partite economic agreement as an independent principle. Japan's determination on these issues
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